As a child, I visited my grandmother every summer. She owned a very large Bible that graced the coffee table in her living room. She would read it every day, writing notes and prayers inside its massive pages. No one was allowed to touch her special Bible.
After years of watching how she cared for that Bible, I also gained an increasing level of respect and honor for it. Although at that point in my life I did not see it as much more than just a very large book, because I loved and honored my grandmother I also learned to love and honor what she loved and honored—her Bible.
God’s Word sets a high standard when it comes to honor. Biblical honor, at its root, implies the bestowal of value or worth. Although the definition is quite elementary, the application is not as simple.
As Christians, we realize that honor takes root in the understanding of lordship. God, the creator, created the heavens and the earth. As the creator, He is the rightful owner. As the owner He is, in fact, the Lord over all creation. In the act of creating all things, God established for Himself a place of honor in all that He created.
Now we, His created beings, should, in turn, give Him the honor He is due based on His role in our existence. Some people resist this; nevertheless, their resistance does not make this fact any less true. God’s position as creator deserves honor, and it is from this position that He delegates honor and authority to others.
The creation of mankind, such a marvelous being, is an astounding feat. It is further amplified by the specific words used to describe the way God would make man: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26, NKJV). It is this statement that highlights the significance of mankind as compared to any other living being.
God, the One to whom all honor belongs, honored mankind by creating us to be His image bearers. He then went a step further and gave us dominion over His creation. The level of value that God bestowed on mankind should prompt us to honor one another as God has honored us. I placed value on my grandmother’s Bible not because of my thoughts or opinions of it, but strictly because of the value that she placed on it. When we honor God, we must also choose to honor what He honors.
We must choose to see people for who they are (image bearers of God) and make the decision to honor regardless of our differences.
This brings a fresh perspective to Peter’s encouragement to “honor all people” (1 Peter 2:17). If this is the biblical precedent, our goal should be to honor both those we deem as honorable and those we consider less deserving. Therefore, our daily interactions should be approached with the mindset of us being honored people, who honor people.
This can be especially challenging with the people we are closest to, such as a spouse, roommate or best friend. It can be an issue in your place of employment. You may often find yourself asking, “Do I really have to honor him or her?” The issue of honor is sometimes most noticeable when it comes to the spiritual or political leaders we are called to serve.
It is in these times that we must dig deep to align our thoughts, motives and actions with the Word of God. It is OK to disagree with religious, ethical or political comments, decisions or outcomes; yet, we must choose to see people for who they are (image bearers of God) and make the decision to honor regardless of our differences.
Now, you may be wondering: “How do I make the corrections needed to be a person of honor?” or “How do I lead in teaching my church to walk in honor? What about my business, or my family?” Through the years, I have learned some important basics that help to keep me on track. They just may help you, as well.
- Maintain a pure heart. The heart is the wellspring of life. What goes in always comes out (Prov. 4:23; 27:19).
- Pray for those you are privileged to honor. It is truly difficult to dishonor someone for whom you genuinely pray (1Tim. 2:1-3).
- Maintain a posture of humility. Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death all because of the value (honor) he placed on us (Philip. 2:6; Heb. 12:2).
My hope is that, as we lean toward establishing a culture of honor, first in our lives and then in our areas of influence, our true focus will be on honoring God. It is my belief that, as we do so, the overflow will be an abundance of honor.